When Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk(notes) fought Corey Perry(notes) on Oct. 8, 2010, we wrote that he could "kiss that Lady Byng goodbye." Many of you probably assumed we were joking. And yet …
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is given to "the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." Datsyuk won it four times from 2005-09, but wasn't nominated this season, in which he picked up his first career fighting major. Coincidence?!
Of course it is. Probably. More likely, Datsyuk's injuries limited him to 56 games and one of his teammates snagged the majority of the votes for the Wings because he's old. But it's more fun to think that it's because he beat up Corey Perry.
Dallas Stars left wing Loui Eriksson(notes), Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis(notes) are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy", the National Hockey League announced today. The Professional Hockey Writers Association votes on this award.
Who wins the Byng this season?
Why Loui Eriksson Deserves the Lady Byng
From the NHL:
Eriksson is a trophy finalist for the first time in his five-year NHL career. The 25-year-old Gothenburg, Sweden native played a strong two-way game for the Stars, leading the club in power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (six) and placing second in scoring with a career-high 73 points (27 goals, 46 assists) and in plus-minus with a +10 rating. He posted a nine-game assist streak from Dec. 28 to Jan. 15, tied for the longest in the League this season. Eriksson received just eight minutes in penalties, the fewest among the League's top 50 scorers and by any player appearing in at least 76 games.
We hate to destroy any deeply held beliefs about the Lady Byng voting that you may have had, but the bottom line is that Eriksson was the only dude on this page with penalty minutes in single digits. And that screams "sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct" to the voters, who aren't exactly going around to every player and official in the NHL to research this selection (although we did, naturally).
Why Nicklas Lidstrom Deserves the Lady Byng
From the NHL:
Lidstrom is a Lady Byng finalist for the first time in eight years and for the sixth time in his NHL career. He has never won the trophy, finishing second or third in the voting for five consecutive years from 1999 through 2003. Lidstrom enjoyed one of his most productive seasons, ranking second among NHL defensemen in scoring with 62 points (16 goals, 46 assists) in 82 games, highlighted by a career-best 11-game point streak. The Red Wings captain, who turns 41 on Apr. 28, assumed his usual heavy workload yet rarely saw the penalty box, receiving just 20 penalty minutes in a team-leading 1,924:25 of ice time.
It's as if the collective minds of the Professional Hockey Writers Association simultaneously came to the conclusion that (a) this incredible class act hasn't been a Byng nominee in eight years and (b) time's running out to get him one and (c) he's Nicklas [expletive] Lidstrom, and yes we shall note the irony in using a redacted profanity in an article about the Lady Byng.
Why Martin St. Louis Deserves the Lady Byng
From the NHL:
St. Louis joins Lidstrom as a six-time Lady Byng Trophy finalist, all in the past seven seasons; he captured the award for the first time in 2009-10 after finishing second from 2007 through 2009 and third in 2004. The 35-year-old wing surged late in the season, tallying points in each of his last nine games and in 15 of his final 17 to finish second in League scoring with 99 points (31 goals, 68 assists). He tied a franchise record for assists in a season and posted the second-highest point total in his 12-year NHL career. St. Louis was assessed just 12 minutes in penalties, matching his career low set last year.
Obviously, that career low in penalty minutes after winning the Byng last season was too much to ignore. And, evidently, the voters must have agreed that snarking about Linus Omark in the shootout wasn't a violation of the Lady Byng code.
Loui Eriksson because, again, he had eight penalty minutes on the season.
No, seriously, what do we win if that's how it plays out?